President Donald Trump on Tuesday night touted his administration’s strategy on trade with China.
“I also promised citizens I would impose tariffs to confront China’s massive theft of America’s jobs,” Trump said in his State of the Union address. “Our strategy has worked. Days ago, we signed a groundbreaking new agreement with China that will defend our workers, protect our intellectual property, bring billions of dollars into our treasury, and open vast new markets for products made and grown here in the U.S.A.”
The U.S. lost 3.7 million jobs since 2001 due to its trade imbalance with China, with the manufacturing sector suffering the worst job losses, the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., said in a report last week.
Trump began imposing tariffs on Chinese goods in 2018, triggering a tit-for-tat trade war that last 18 months. In January, his administration signed a trade deal with China that halted tariff escalation. Under the trade deal, China promised to reduce its trade surplus with the U.S. and take actions to prevent some of the unfair and illegal trade practices that the Trump administration had objected to.
“For decades, China has taken advantage of the United States,” Trump said. “Now, we have changed that. At the same time, we have the best relationship we have ever had with China, including President Xi. They respect what we have done, because, quite frankly, they could never believe they were able to get away with what they were doing year after year, decade after decade, without someone in our country stepping up and saying, ‘That’s enough.'”